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Desperate to stay married
December 10, 2003
9:39 pm
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marty
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My wife of 30 years wanted me to take therapy for anger management. (I don't lose my temper with her, but have lost it towards others, outside my family.) The therapist believes that I'm a codependent and should read Beattie's book. (She doesn't think anger management is needed.) First I searched codependency on Google to see what it's all about and that led me to this site. I don't want to leave my wife, but I'm reading that that's the solution for codependency. I'm thinking about stopping the therapy because my therapist actually said I should consider a divorce! Can anyone relate to this?

December 10, 2003
10:10 pm
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Zinnie
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The answer to co-dependencey need not necessarily be a divorce.

Why does your wife think you need anger management? Do you get angry, and speak your mind? Or do you get angry and take a baseball bat to people? Or, are you getting angry, and internalizing it?

Why would the therapist suggest a divorce? Do you and your wife not get along? Did you go with your wife, or alone.

December 10, 2003
11:48 pm
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marty
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Hi Zinnie,
Some good questions.
I NEVER have been a violent person. We're talking about maybe 6 times in 30 years where I just exploded in a verbal way in public. My therapist actually thought my anger was justified, but my wife was embarassed by the public display.
My wife did go with me to three sessions, when the therapist said
that it would help. Eventually,the therapist suggested that my wife needed some help herself. As a result, she became extremely upset - for days. I told her it's not worth her going, if it would make her sick. I've been to one session since then. At the last session, the therapist suggested divorce, since my wife wasn't willing to work with me for improvement, but was a necessary part of the solution.

December 11, 2003
12:05 am
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Zinnie
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Hi Marty,

Something to ponder.

It seems that the people that complain the most about what all everyone else is doing wrong, are the ones that need to most help.

I wonder what issues your wife might have, whether you know what they are or not - that is making her feel this way? If she is wanting you to change so much, and you are willing to go to therapy to see what you need to do differently, but she is not - what is the real issue?

We all lose it so to speak. It takes a lot, and I mean a lot these days to make me mad. But, I'm the first person to admit, that when I get really really mad, sure, I lose it. Not one of my better qualities, but definitely not one that my husband feels I need therapy for. That is why I was asking you what type of "anger management" was she thinking you were needing. If your therapist thought your anger was justified, than what was the real issue? Also, when your therapist told you this, was your wife present? If so, how did she take him/her affirming your anger being justified?

I think also when reading about co-dependency, the option of leaving of course is mentioned because there comes a point in time when in a co-dependent relationship, if we do not realize what we are doing, and we do nothing to please ourselves and lead out own lives, than we are completely losing ourselves to our "toxic" person.

We have a right to lead our own lives and be happy in doing so. I'm not saying run out and do whatever you want to at any time. But, if you do nothing for yourself, except obsess over the person in your life, or do nothing but things for that person - than you are losing your sense of self.

What was your therapists reasons for suggesting a divorce? What do you feel about a divorce? Had you ever thought of that before your wife told you that you needed anger management? Also, have you told her what your therapist thought (regarding getting a divorce), or shared with her what you are reading and studying up on?

After reading some of the things you have researched, do you feel that you are co-dependent?

Zinnie

December 11, 2003
12:40 am
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gingerleigh
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How do you feel that your marriage is going? What is your relationship like with her? What prompted your wife wanting you to take anger management classes?

I'm shocked that a therapist would mention divorce in the first few sessions, especially after 30 years. Maybe a second opinion is in order.

December 11, 2003
8:16 am
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marty
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Well, Zinnie and Gingerleigh,
I really appreciate your genuine interest. I wil answer your questions:
1. Divorce was not suggested in the first session. I went 3 times without my wife, 2 times with her, and on the last visit (no. 6) without her, is when my therapist mentioned divorce. I told her that divorce is not an option. I also told her, with and without my wife present, that I love my wife and want the marraige to work. I said that it has not been perfect for 30 years, none are, but I've adapted to it. My wife also said she wants to stay married, but I'm the only one that is willing to change. In fact, I'm the one not happy, as my wife told the therapist and me that she is perfectly happy.
2. My wife wanted me to see the therapist when I embarassed my daughter in front of her boyfriend. I did blow up, but I immediatally appolgized. (It's a long story, but I was at the amusement park, trying not to get wet, when her boyfriend purposely threw water on me.) I told my wife that the therapist saw no problem and my wife was dismayed. I spoke with it separatally afterwards with my daughter and her boyfriend and they seemed OK with it. This was the only time I had blown up in front of my daughter, and like I said, it's been about 5 or 6 times in 30 years - never at my wife.
3. My wife likes to keep here thoughts to herself and does not like intimacy. I am the opposite.(Of course I have sexual frustrations.) Here is an example: the office Christmas party is coming up and as usual, my wife does not want to attend. Every one knows everyone's spouses from going to company functions and I feel left out and depressed. This was discussed in therapy with my wife. She said the thought of going is too much stress for her and I was told by the therapist ot go alone and enjoy it.

December 11, 2003
9:02 am
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HARRYO
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Hi Marty, I have been where you are.
In the late eighties my anger
caused by my codepency almost
cost me my marriage. I went to
couseling and it was saved for
another 10 years. Unfortunatly
it ended in divorce. A lot of the
same issues as you. Ie control.
I don't know what to tell you.
If you want to stay with your
wife and she wants to stay with
you then defineately make the effort.
So many problems are caused
by our unwillingness to accept
what we can't change. Further
when we continually seek validation
outside of ourselves for happiness
we lose the essence of our emotional
and spiritual well being which
is willingness to GIVE.
It's good that you came here and
are brave enough to recognize
that you have issues and you
are willing to work through them.
By all means read Melanie Beatty's
book. Pay particular attention
to the chapter on anger.
Also, try to identify the source
of your anger. Were you abused
as a child? I think that is 90%
of my problem, but at least I know
where it comes from.
Anger is not necessarily a bad
emotion when it can be controlled.
In order to be controlled it must
be understood. Do not let it
destroy the relationships that
mean the most to you.
The metaphor that I use is like the
Incredible Hulk, you turn into
this monster before you even
know what's happening to you.
Then you find yourself in a
heap(emotionally) Asking yourself
How did I get here?
The last time i had a "rage slip"
it felt like an "out of body"
experience. Like I was looking at myself saying that's not me while
it was happening, Fortuneatly I
made amends to myu loved ones
before it could get worse. You
are not ALONE.

December 11, 2003
11:08 am
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mj
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Good Luck Marty...
I think that you are expressing yourself very well here. Keep up with your counseling, and if needed change counselors that are more supportive of your goal to stay married. Only you know for sure what feels right for you.

December 11, 2003
11:18 am
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artist 2
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I wouldn't be so sure about a therapist recommending divorce!! that's spells out giving up on a marriage of thirty years!

I don't go to therapists any more because they have never helped me, just allowed my condition, as well as my bills - to persist.

have you talked to a minister or priest?

December 11, 2003
12:17 pm
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marty
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Hi Harry O,
Thanks for your perspective.
In my case, anger management is a periperal issue, not the root problem. It's only the one fault that my wife could find. And my parents were very supportive and never abusive.
I tend to agree with Artist2 about therapists. I'm not sure if I'll continue or go to another one. However, I think I have it figured out - and know what's best for me- beyond what a therapist could provide. I will read Beatties's book.
I still believe what I told the therapist - which she didn't agree with: no marriage or life is perfect. Too many people give up too easilly and I won't be part of that satistic. More later, as I'm writing on my lunch hour. Bye.
PS
mj, thanks for you support and I agree with you.

December 11, 2003
12:17 pm
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gingerleigh
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Wife doesn't want to go to a party because it's "too much stress"? Hm. If she were perfectly healthy, I'd be inclined to think that she's being pretty selfish and bratty. That's probably not the case though, and the therapist probably hit it on the head suggesting that your wife could use some help for herself outside of the relationship as well. She sounds a bit like the Queen of DeNial, with her "I'm perfectly happy" line. If she's been telling herself that everything is fine just fine for all these years, having a total stranger tell her it ain't so is probably a shock (hence the crying fit she had).

It doesn't sound to me like you have anger management issues. Honestly, who has never ever exploded in anger? Probably the only ones who haven't are sitting in a facility somewhere spinning pennies on the bathroom floor.

In another thread, someone mentioned transferrence, where one partner in the relationship is aware on some level that they have a problem, and then to "fix" the problem, they transfer the blame to the other partner. Not saying that you don't have your part in this, but your wife doesn't want to step up and own her stuff.

If she doesn't want to do counseling, that sucks. A cheaper approach you can try with her is buying a book. It's called "Relationship Rescue", Dr. Phil (yes the obnoxious dude from the Oprah show). If you can get past the "I'm Dr. Phil and I'm So Great" stuff, the advice in the book is actually wonderful. You can start reading it on your own, and then share with your partner.

Best wishes, Marty.

December 11, 2003
12:22 pm
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marty
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Gingerleigh,
I was off to lunch but I must answer you first.
Yes there are real issues with my wife, but after 30 years I'm no stranger to them. Sure it sucks, but like I told Harry O, who has a perfect wife or life?
I can't stomach Dr. Phil either, but I will check out his book, on your high reccomendation. Thanks Gingerleigh!

December 11, 2003
4:27 pm
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mj
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In all honesty, some social situations make me nervous. I don't really care to accompany my husband to his Christmas party. His comrades seem to inhale beer faster than anyone I have ever seen and it isn't that fun to talk to a bunch of oogling drunks. I went the first few years...and quit going because it was definitely out of my comfort zone. I was worried someone would fall into my ankle and injure it worse.

Social anxiety is a very real problem for a lot of people. Unfortunately for you, your wife doesn't have any problems. Maybe she will want to change once she sees the progress and happiness you are reaping by taking care of yourself.

December 11, 2003
4:30 pm
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mj
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PS...I love Dr. PHIL 🙂 He cuts through the BS faster than any counselor I have ever been too.

December 11, 2003
4:32 pm
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artist 2
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I really don't like parties either, and my BF says don't go if you don't want to!

However, I'd check into the Transferrence issue. I have dealt with the problem myself. It's hard to look at yourself when you haven't been all that responsible, and you're conscious of it.

Congrats for sticking by her. I hope you both can get some help with the books and self-intake.

December 11, 2003
5:10 pm
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gingerleigh
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Hey MJ, not trying to call social anxiety lame or a fabrication. The difference I see in your story is that you did try to go to your husband's party, and then opted out after trying it a few times. I bet if your husband told you now that it meant a lot for you to go that you would make the effort to go, grit your teeth through it, and smile your prettiest. Sounds like Marty's wife refused to even make the effort. Bummer.

December 11, 2003
8:33 pm
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marty
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Hi Gingerleigh,
Tonight I brough home Beattie's book and will have the Relationship book from the library. Thanks again for the suggestions. I'll let you know how they help.

December 11, 2003
9:18 pm
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Zinnie
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Hi Marty,

I also wonder about why a therapist would "say" get a divorce, especially since the marriage is 30 years old. Which makes me wonder what it was she saw? Just trying to look at from all angles.

Regarding your Christmas Party - if your daughter is old enough to have a boy friend, would it be appropriate to bring her along instead?

Sorry all, but I seem to be the only female on the face of the earth that cannot stand Dr. Phil. Must be that East Texas 'TWANGY WHINE he has going on there.

I know there are others on this board from TX, you all know what I mean!

Love,

Zinnie

December 11, 2003
9:52 pm
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marty
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Zinnie,
I said my therapist suggested divorce. This was only suggested as an option. She wanted to know what I thought about it. This was at the last session. However, she didn't propose any other options so far, since the idea of my wife joining the therapy session failed. When the sesion endeded, she suggested I read Beattie's book, which was brought up again in this thread.
I really appreciate all the great comments and interest from all of you - it helps a lot.

December 11, 2003
10:00 pm
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Zinnie
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Hi Marty,

Forgive me, I misunderstood what you said. She was probably trying to get a perspective on what way to take your therapy. Did you want a divorce, or do you want to work to resolving any issues between you and your wife.

I give you kudos for trying though. Noting against men (you, Harry, Worried Dad, the flirtatious Anam, and any others I missed), but most men will not go to counseling with their spouse, much less alone.

Z

December 11, 2003
10:31 pm
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marty
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Hi Zinnie,
No question in my mind. Divorce is not an option. There is plenty of good stuff to keep me going while I work on improvement. To me, this seems only logical. All I'm looking for is the road to improvement.

December 11, 2003
10:31 pm
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marty
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Hi Zinnie,
No question in my mind. Divorce is not an option. There is plenty of good stuff to keep me going while I work on improvement. To me, this seems only logical. All I'm looking for is the road to improvement.

December 11, 2003
10:37 pm
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Zinnie
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Careful Marty,

You are hiccuping! Have you been into the wine at the "Coffee House"?

Zinnie

December 12, 2003
8:01 am
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marty
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Hi Zinnie,
Maybe I can't see the forest for the trees; I sure can't see what you see! Please explain.

December 12, 2003
8:08 am
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mj
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Hiccup to me, meant, double posting of the same.....

I have 2 of Dr. Phil's Books...Self Matters, Relationship Rescue and I find the exercises extremely beneficial but hard to do. It's like the 4th Step to me. Taking a look at ourselves honestly and seeing our part in the relationship trouble.

Glad to hear that you are doing your steps...got the books! Look forward to you sharing your opinions and thoughts.

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